SC16 Austin, TX

SRC20. Narrowing the Gap: Effects of Latency with Docker in IP Networks

Student: Corbin L. Higgs (Pendleton High School)
Supervisor: Jason W. Anderson (Clemson University)

Abstract: Recent work has shown that Docker containers can useful for packaging HPC applications with their runtime environments. Applications in containers perform similarly to native; however, some work has shown that containers can adversely affect the latency variation of network traffic. This variation may have an impact on the performance of some HPC workloads, especially those that are dependent on synchronization. In this work, we report on the latency characteristics of MPI communications using Docker containers and the Linux bridge. Although we observe lower mean and variation in latency in simple microbenchmarks, synchronization time of applications using the bridge is higher and more variable. We then report on application benchmarks that suffer from low performance with the Linux bridge, and correlate these results to high communications frequency. In conclusion, we find that Docker containers add little to no performance cost to HPC applications, but the Linux bridge can cause degradation.

Poster: pdf
Two-page extended abstract: pdf

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